|Title:||Causatives and the Empty Lexicon: A Minimalist perspective||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Pauli Brattico||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of Helsinki, Deparment of Psychology|
|Linguistic Subfield(s):||Syntax; Cognitive Science;|
|Abstract:||What is the constitution of the meaning of morphemes (lexical concepts)? According to most theories, such meanings have a molecular or holistic internal structure: prototypes, exemplars, semantic networks, complex schemata, scripts, and even classical definitions. Recently, however, contrary opinions have arisen in cognitive science suggesting that lexical concepts are not semantically structured. Let us call this theory 'lexical atomism.'
It is argued in this thesis that, once certain conceptual issues have been clarified (Chapter 1), lexical atomism might indeed provide a more suitable alternative (Chapter 2). The theory is nevertheless problematic in that, among other things, most theories of grammar apparently require a decompositional account of the lexicon, and the atomistic version offers too much stipulation rather than explanation. This problem is solved in this thesis by providing a version of the minimalist grammar that encompasses the atomistic lexicon, does not use meaning postulates, and suggests a solution to certain problems in minimalist theory (Chapters 3, 6). It is then shown that this proposal suffices to explain the key properties of causatives without decompositions (Chapter 4). The hypothesis put forward in this study is that causativity is part of the 'logical syntax' of a single sentence rather than part of any of its lexical elements.